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Progress Continues on "A Monumental Journey"

Monday, May 14, 2018

By: Ashley Albaugh

Progress on A Monumental Journey, a sculpture by artist Kerry James Marshall, continues at Johnson Machine Works’ shop. The sculpture will soon make Hansen Triangle Park off of Grand and 2nd Avenue in downtown Des Moines its permanent home. Marshall’s vision is being brought to life with steel, concrete and custom black brick. 

The entire steel structure is being made in three pieces. The skeleton is made of rolled steel wrapped in thin steel that makes up the skin. Later this week, the structure will be broken down, shipped and installed at its final location. The entire process will take just two days. Once in place, Seedorff Masonry will begin the process of laying each custom black brick, around 13,000 in total, over the 30 foot sculpture by hand. 

The pieces now distinctly form the drum shape that was inspired by the talking drum of West Africa – meant to symbolize the “notion of communication among diverse peoples and a legal system that – though not perfect – strives to be balanced.”*   This sculpture will honor the 12 African- American attorneys - five from Des Moines, five from Chicago and two from Kansas City – who founded the National Bar Association right here in Des Moines, Iowa in 1925, and opened doors for African-American lawyers at a time when other associations denied their memberships.

We are proud to partner with the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Substance Architecture, Johnson Machine Works and Seedorff Masonry to bring this incredible piece of art to life.

Visit the Des Moines Public Art Foundation’s website to learn more about the project and ways you can support this incredible sculpture and others!